Just How Lucrative is a Law Degree These Days?

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With lawyers popularized in hit television shows (such as Boston Legal, Damages, and Rake), lawyers being amongst the highest paid professions across the globe, and the prestige that comes with helping others, it is no shock that there has been a large increase of those going to law school. There are so many people going to law school, that some are worrying that a law degree is no longer lucrative. In Australia, the number of students that have graduated from law school, in the last decade, is up almost 330%. In America, a report was recently published by the National Association for Law Placement, and their statistics showed that only 64.4 percent of graduates were working in a job that required the passage of the Bar Exam. This isn’t to say that lawyers across the board aren’t doing well; you just may want to focus on international law and plan to move once you graduate.

Highest Salaries

When looking at countries with the highest salaries, you might be surprised to learn which countries are paying their lawyers the most. Coming in at number one, China. China not only the country with the highest salary—the average salary for a lawyer being $146,945 (in USD)—but also has a low cost of living. Taking into account the cost of living, the weighted annual salary, in USD, is $222,165. Coming in second, third and fourth place—Germany, France, and United Arab Emirates; with weighted salaries, in USD, of $126,272, $125,330, and $123,626, respectively.

Lucrative Equity

Most define lucrative as “producing a great deal of profit.” That being said, profits do not always translate directly into money. If a person you work with became ill, and as a result you got to go on your dream vacation, would you not “profit from their misfortune?” In some scenarios, working as lawyer provides you an opportunity to collect favors from friends and family. Sometimes, a price cannot be put on owed favors. Additionally, there has to be something said for earning and storing up good karma.

Personal Growth and Knowledge

It is very difficult to put a price on the ability to handle problems for yourself. I’ve used a lawyer before, and he charged me $300 an hour. Having knowledge of the law would have saved me a fortune. Think about it—you’d never have to pay for a speeding ticket, ever! If you want to try to figure out some of these legal wiles yourself, Legal Vision is a great place to start. You never know when a little bit of light reading will get you out of a bind. The site also shows a new evolution to the industry – a move away from the classic legal office into online legal services, which is an expanding and profitable niche service.

The Math—All about the Dollars and Cents

The math does not lie. When it comes down to it, yes…having a law degree is very lucrative. A study done by the American Bar Association, says that the average public law school costs $16,800/yr and that the average private law school cost $34,000/yr. Even if you decide to go private school route, and spend $102,000 on your law school, you will still come out well ahead of everyone else. The additional $102,000, divided over the length of your career, will seem like nothing as you receive each paycheck. Big institutions now offer affordable online MBL programs, so it’s easier to graduate while you’re busy with a full-time job to support your studies.

Focusing on American information, the average annual salary for a lawyer is $130,880. The average salary for someone with a doctorate is $81,400, an advanced degree is $72,824, and the average American salary is well below these numbers. The median household income, of $51,017, does not come close to any of those numbers. So, yes, it is safe to say that a law degree is very lucrative.